Preparing for the Principles of Learning and Teaching Exam (PRAXIS PLT)
Part II – Test Taking Tips
By: Dr. Christine A. Carucci, assistant professor of music education
This is the second in a two part series on preparing for the PRAXIS PLT exams. (Part one)
The PRAXIS PLT exam is one component required for teaching licensure in the state of Kentucky and beyond. The first article in this series offered ideas on resources that are available to help test takers prepare for the exam. This article will provide suggestions and tips to assist test-takers on exam day.
The PLT tests are comprised of seventy multiple-choice questions and four constructed response essays. Test takers are allotted a two-hour window for the exam, which is no doubt a lot of questions to answer in a relatively short window of time. For this reason, it is imperative that test takers practice effective time management. Try to avoid getting “stuck” on a question if you don’t know the answer. Simply come back to it later, if time allows. With that in mind, there is no penalty for guessing. The PRAXIS PLT is scored based on the number of correct answers, so there is not a penalty for giving an incorrect answer. If you find yourself guessing, guess smart. Eliminate any distractors that seem illogical. Try to use terminology from the question stem to help you choose an answer that makes sense. For example, if the question asks you to choose a theory based on how learners “build new ideas,” constructivism would be a good match (build à construct).
When answering the constructed response questions, it is a good idea to read the questions before reading the associated case study. This will help provide context as you read each scenario and will allow you to make notes on relevant ideas as you read. Be sure to respond clearly to each part of the question asked, using a new paragraph or bullet to help the reader understand you are addressing a new point. In addition, this is not the place to ‘wax eloquent’ using filler to dazzle the scorer. Keep your answers clear and concise, keeping your thoughts focused on the main points.
Most beneficial is to have a good understanding of educational theorists, which could help you explain your ideas. The scorers want to see you can apply theories and research to the case study scenarios. Test takers should select three or more educational theories that they could readily apply to many situations. Similarly, avoid opinion-based writing, but rather address questions from the perspective of existing research. Rather than beginning your sentences with “I believe…” shift the focus to relate facts with the question being asked (“According to the ____ theory, the teacher in this example…).
Lastly, there is no penalty for writing the essay responses as detailed outlines rather than paragraph form. Keep in mind that for every question asked, there should be a new section in the outline, or a new paragraph in written form. If opting for outline form, it is best to still use complete sentences for clarity.
In summary, becoming familiar with the test format, and being a savvy test taker can help test-takers succeed at taking the PRAXIS PLT.
Published on February 03, 2017